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Bath House (Amenity Block) at Thomas Broadbent and Sons Ltd

A Grade II Listed Building in Huddersfield, Kirklees

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.6419 / 53°38'30"N

Longitude: -1.7808 / 1°46'50"W

OS Eastings: 414591

OS Northings: 416172

OS Grid: SE145161

Mapcode National: GBR JV0B.87

Mapcode Global: WHCB1.MQ7F

Entry Name: Bath House (Amenity Block) at Thomas Broadbent and Sons Ltd

Listing Date: 18 November 2009

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393532

English Heritage Legacy ID: 507536

Location: Kirklees, HD1

County: Kirklees

Electoral Ward/Division: Newsome

Built-Up Area: Huddersfield

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Huddersfield St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Leeds

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Listing Text


919/0/10081 QUEEN STREET SOUTH
18-NOV-09 BATH HOUSE (AMENITY BLOCK) AT THOMAS B
ROADBENT & SONS LTD

II
Bath House for foundry company Thomas Broadbent and Sons, Huddersfield, 1955, by Abbey Hanson architects (designing architect Andrew Buck, project leader Geoffrey Rowe), building work by Law Stead & Sons Ltd.
MATERIALS: coursed and finely cut stone of varying widths and finishes, in narrow diminishing courses in some parts and rough-cut block stone in others. All the window ranges are set in ashlar panels. There are iron railings and an iron external staircase.
PLAN: the building takes the form of a series of rectangles. At the front, a central washroom is flanked by lavatories and entrances to either side. Behind is a large shower area with dirty lockers to the right and clean lockers to the left. The right hand entrance leads in to the washroom and dirty lockers, while the left hand entrance leads to the clean locker area, providing a through-flow from dirty to clean. A basement level contains the boiler room and storage areas, while on the flat roof is a terrace with a small enclosed room and a tank room.
EXTERIOR: The main (east) elevation has an off-centre tower element (carrying the water tank) which has full height, timber framed, opaque glazed panels with strong vertical lines: it breaks forward from the main frontage and its timber-fronted flat roof projects forward. To the right is a lower section with 5 small windows set high, and a double doored entrance approached up a short flight of steps behind a stone parapet and iron railings running parallel to the building. The doors have rounded metal handles. There is a further short stretch of wall beyond the entrance and the whole section has a projecting flat roof above which is a low stone wall, set back, which protects the sun terrace above. To the left of the tower is a narrow block with a single window and the second entrance which faces to the side. An iron cantilever staircase rises from the left and leads to the sun terrace, and a rear block extends from behind the staircase. Along the front of the building is a low stone wall and iron railings which conceal a sloping ramp to the basement with an entrance beneath the stairs to the right.
The left return has to the left a block with four high-set windows with opaque glass in timber frames. The stonework is widely coursed to the base, narrow coursed to the main part and very finely coursed to the parapet above. The parapet has a small section of iron railings to the left end. To the right is the side of the water tower, set back. A double doored entrance with original handles is set in the left side of this, while to the right is the iron staircase to the roof. It has a double dog-leg, crossing the side of the tower, extending out from it, and then turning again to the left at the bottom where the steps are in stone and are masked by a stone wall and iron railings. At the upper level is an entrance to the water tower with a projecting canopy above.
The right return is largely plain with stonework in diminishing courses and 3 high windows. The rear (which faces the street) also has a series of high windows along its length.
The external staircase leads to the sun terrace. Attached to the side of the water tower at the front is a small enclosed room with wooden slat bench seating round three sides, doors opening to the south and windows to three sides. Running north from this is a low wall, rendered, extending for most of the length of the building, carrying steel columns supporting a canopy. The canopy is supported along its other edge by steel columns rising from the floor, and is timber lined. A low brick wall runs round the perimeter of the terrace and the floor is tarmac.

INTERIOR: The internal doors are original, most with glazed panels and some with original push-pull handles. Some original light switches survive though not in use. The floor throughout is of original buff and black tiles in an abstract pattern, and walls are largely tiled in plain buff tiles. Original plans show that the internal layout is unchanged. The doors on the main fa├žade open into a lobby area containing an original ceramic drinking fountain. To the right is the staff toilet with lockers and showers with original fittings. There is also a storage cupboard leading off the lobby. To the left is the main washroom containing original footbaths and communal washbasins with foot operated taps. Only the original hand dryers have gone. Original ceiling light fittings survive alongside modern strip lights, and there are 2 light wells in the ceiling. Double doors from the lobby to the rear lead to the dirty locker room which contains rows of original steel lockers. Behind the washroom, and accessed from the washroom or the dirty locker room, is the shower room with rows of shower cubicles along each side. The shower fittings are original and the ceiling contains exposed ducting from the original warm air heating. Windows to the rear are boarded up. To the left of the shower room is the clean locker room, slightly larger than the dirty locker room and containing original lockers. Doors from the clean locker room also lead into the lavatories with original urinal and WCs, and to the exit lobby. This lobby has doors opening to the side entrance beneath the stair to the terrace. To the side of the lobby is a storage area, labelled as Attendant's Room on the original plan. The basement floor was not inspected.

HISTORY: The baths were opened in 1955 on 15 July after planning permission was granted in April 1954. The local newspaper, the Huddersfield Examiner, carried an article on the opening, describing the new amenity block as having the `most up to date washing facilities - complete even to plugs for electric razors...Each foundry worker is provided with two lockers, for his outdoor clothes and for his working clothes, and through them warm air is circulated to keep the clothes dry, thus avoiding the possibility of colds being caught after taking showers'. The layout and facilities are described in detail, with a heading `So Optimistic - They've even built a sun lounge!'.
Law Stead and Sons, the builders, had been involved in the design and construction of local mills and public buildings in the late C19 and early C20, and houses in the C20. Peter Stead became a director of the firm in 1947 and was involved in the construction of Farnley Hey (listed Grade II) by Peter Wormersley. He later became an academic, opened an art gallery and was a pioneer of Huddersfield Civic Society.
The architect Andrew Buck designed supermarkets, other public buildings and houses in the region. Geoffrey Rowe was a senior partner in the firm of Abbey & Hanson, was twice Vice President of the RIBA, president of the West Yorkshire Society of Architects and a visiting professor at Clemson University, South Carolina in 1974.
The firm of Thomas Broadbent & Sons was founded in 1864 as an engineering firm serving the local textile industry, and built a range of products including steam engines, cars and travelling cranes. They later specialised in centrifuges which they continue to make. During World War II the firm also built submarines.
SOURCES
Ashworth, W, The History of the British Coal Industry, Vol 5, (1986), pp 527- 532
Green, L & Hall, R, eds., Peter Stead: a life in dynamic equilibrium, (2006), pp 15-16
Huddersfield Daily Examiner, `So Optimistic - They've even built a sun lounge!', 28 October 1955, p7
Journal of the RIBA Yorkshire Region, `T W Broadbent Limited - Abbey Hanson & Rowe 1953', Aug 1973
Sennett, R. S., ed., Encyclopedia of 20th Century Architecture, (2001), pp 614-5
Stratton, M & Trinder, B, Twentieth Century Industrial Archaeology, (2000), pp 21-24
Supple, B, The History of the British Coal Industry, Vol 4, (1987), pp 473-568

Reasons for Designation
The Bath House at Broadbent's Engineering in Huddersfield is designated at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
* The building is a very rare, possibly unique example of a purpose built bath house for foundry workers
* Its continuing function as a bath house has preserved its original purpose in both its layout and its fixtures and fittings as well as its design
* The design of the building manifests inspiration from both W Dudok and Frank Lloyd Wright, and achieves a high standard of accomplishment in its interpretation of contemporary architectural influences
* The use of local stone for external walls distinguishes it from brick built pithead baths of similar style, and the imaginative use of finishes lends further distinction
* The interior survives almost entirely intact, with original wash basins, shower and tap fittings, lockers, floor and wall surfaces, doors and light fittings.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Reasons for Listing

The Bath House at Broadbent's Engineering in Huddersfield has been designated at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
* The building is a very rare, possibly unique example of a purpose built bath house for foundry workers
* Its continuing function as a bath house has preserved its original purpose in both its layout and its fixtures and fittings as well as its design
* The design of the building manifests inspiration from both W Dudok and Frank Lloyd Wright, and achieves a high standard of accomplishment in its interpretation of contemporary architectural influences
* The use of local stone for external walls distinguishes it from brick built pithead baths of similar style, and the imaginative use of finishes lends further distinction
* The interior survives almost entirely intact, with original wash basins, shower and tap fittings, lockers, floor and wall surfaces, doors and light fittings.

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